The opening stage of the Tour of Turkey would see the expected mass sprint finish. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung fast man, Theo Bos, would duel it out with the other sprinters to take 5th on the stage for our African team.
The early break of 5 riders honestly never stood much of a chance on today’s 140km flat stage and were caught with 20km to go. A nice wide road for the final 20km saw just about every team trying to organise their sprint trains at the head of the race. The battle for position was intense and at times a bit scrappy.
Lotto-Soudal and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were probably the 2 most prominent teams at the head of the race for the final 20km while Etixx-QuickStep also did well to keep their riders grouped together. The final 5km was rather disorganised with sprinters losing their leadout men all over the place. Etixx-QuickStep had 3 riders hit the final km in the lead and this was the defining factor as Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) took the victory.
Caleb Ewan (Orica-Greenedge) was 2nd with Niccola Ruffoni (Bardiani) in 3rd. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung would have 5 riders trying to position Theo in the final and all was going according to plan until the final km when some bumping and barging saw our boys lose each other’s wheels somewhat. Nevertheless Theo was still quick enough to secure 5th place.
Theo Bos – Rider
I had good legs in the final today. It is nice to do an actual bunch sprint again, it was the first real one for me this year. The legs felt really fast, I was just placed too far back in the last 1.5km. I was working with Jay, Kristian and Youcef in the final and Youcef stayed with me and moved me up until 500m to go. I was able to gain some confidence today and look forward to the rest week as we have a good team here.
J.P Heynderickx – Sport Director
Today was the bunch sprint everyone expected. We rode the whole day in support of Theo. The guys rode really well as a team and could be seen all together for the entire stage which was really good. In the finale Theo ended up being a bit too far back when the sprint started. The result is good for the head and shows that legs are there as well so it is promising sign for the days to come.